Nanochloropsis sp.


  • Nannochloropsis is very popular for studies of lipid production for biofuel (Dong et al., 2013) and the production of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), especially EPA.
  • Currently, 5 species are recognized (Nannochloropsis australis, Nannochloropsis granulata, Nannochloropsis limnetica, Nannochloropsis oceanica, Nannochloropsis oculata); while species Nannochloropsis salina and Nannochloropsis gaditana have recently been transferred to the genus Microchloropsis (Fawley et al., 2015).
  • Currently, SBC’s microalgae library has a total of 2 locally isolated Nannochloropsis sp.

Natural Habitat

  • Nannochloropsis can be found in marine water mainly while Nannochloropsis limnetica found in freshwater (Freire, 2016).
  • SBC’s strains were isolated from marine water source.
  • Number of strains isolated in Sarawak:
Division  No. of Strains 
Kuching  2
Total  2


  • Size (nm)
    • Ranged from 2 to 5 µm in diameter (Wang et al., 2014).
    • The Nannochloropsis strains in the SBC's microalgae library is approximately 2-4 µm in diameter. 
  • Flagella
    • No flagella
  • Motile
    • Non-motile
  • Shape
    • Single-celled, sphere
  • Any other published scientific info
    • The cell has a smooth cell wall with small papilla and containing one parietal, yellow-green chloroplast and cytoplasmic granular.
    • Commonly cannot be distinguished by either light or electron microscopy.
    • The only way to confirm the identity is via molecular identification.

Algae Bioeconomy/Industry

  • Fatty acid / PUFA/animal feed/aquafeed
    • Nannochloropsis limnetica is rich in long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially EPA which is important for nutraceuticals and aquaculture industries (Krienitz and Wirth, 2006).
    • Nannochloropsis Nanno 3600 is a product from Reed Mariculture which can boost the yield of rotifer.
    • “Certified premium freeze-dried Nannochloropsis sp.” by Proviron is used as aquafeed (
    • It has been used as an extruded formulation for animal and human (
  • Biofuel
    • Nannochloropsis sp. is considered as a potential model microalgal because of the great photosynthetic efficiency, high lipid productivity, well established genetic database and relatively mature technology for outdoor cultivation systems on a large scale (Rodolfi et al., 2009). This made Nannochloropsis suitable for algal biofuel production due to its ease of growth and high oil content.


Dong, H., Williams, E., Wang, D., Xie, Z., Hsia, R., Jenck, A., Halden, R., Li, J., Chen, F. & Place, A. R. (2013).  Responses of Nannochloropsis oceanica IMET1 to long-term nitrogen starvation and recovery. Plant Physiology. 162(2), 1110–1126.

Fawley, M. W., Fawley, K. P., (2015) The phylogeny of the genus Nannochloropsis (Monodopsidaceae, Eustigmatophyceae), with descriptions of N. australis sp. Nov. and Microchloropsis gen. Nov. Phycologia. 54(5),545-552.

Freire, I., Burgueno, A. C., Grille, P., Arizcun, M.A., Abellan, E., Segura, M., Sousa, F.W. and Otero, A. (2016).  Nannochloropsis limnetica: A freshwater microalga for marine aquaculture. Aquaculture. 459, 124-130.

Krienitz, L. and Wirth, M. (2006). The high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids in Nannochloropsis limnetica (Eustigmatophyceae) and its implication for food web interactions, freshwater aquaculture and biotechnology. Limnologica. 36(3), 204-210.

Rodolfi, L., Chini Zittelli, G., Bassi, N., Padovani, G., Biondi, N., Bonini, G. & Tredici, M.R. (2009). Microalgae for oil: Strain selection, induction of lipid synthesis and outdoor mass cultivation in a low-cost photobioreactor. Biotechnology and Bioengineering. 102, 100–112.

Wang, D, Ning, K., Li, J., Hu, J.Q., Han, D.X., Wang, H., Zeng, X.W., Jing, X.Y., Zhou, Q., Su, X.Q., Wang, A.H., Wang, W., Jia, J., Wei, L., Xin, Y., Qiao, Y.H., Huang, R., Chen, J., Han, B., Yoon, K.S., Hill, R.T., Zohar, Y., Chen, F., Hu, Q. and Xu, J. (2014). Nannochloropsis genomes reveal evolution of microalgal oleaginous traits. PLOS Genetics. 10(1),


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